May 28, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PGCMLS: Nicholas A. Brown
Largo, Maryland –The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) is proud to maintain physical and virtual spaces for Prince Georgians to gather, learn, and connect with each other. In keeping with this longstanding commitment that is fundamental to the Library’s mission, PGCMLS is celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride Month this June with “Pride at PGCMLS,” an initiative that features 15+ virtual programs, the launch of a new LGBTQ+ history and culture webpage, and a virtual community pride month quilt project.
2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the first pride march in New York City in June of 1970. The march took place one year after the Stonewall Riots of June 1969 and marked a pivotal moment in LGBTQ+ history around the world. Two national bestselling authors, R. Eric Thomas (“Here for It”) and George M. Johnson (“All Boys Aren’t Blue”), PGCMLS staff, and community members will be featured in virtual programs that celebrate and honor powerful voices and experience of the LGBTQ+ community in Prince George’s County and the United States. Over the past year, a team of PGCMLS staff members have worked to develop new resources for staff and community members to engage with LGBTQ+ culture and topics. The “Pride at PGCMLS” initiative highlights the many ways that the Library serves and supports the LGBTQ+ community in Prince George’s County year-round.
“Pride at PGCMLS” Webpage
A highlight of the 2020 “Pride at PGCMLS” program is the launch of a new LGBTQ+ history and culture webpage (pgcmls.info/pride), which is part of the Library’s Prince George’s County Heritage Project. Throughout 2020, PGCMLS is developing and releasing a series of new cultural heritage webpages that celebrate some of the major cultures that contribute to the vitality of the local community. These pages provide a platform for the Library to highlight cultures year-round, beyond just heritage months. Existing pages include African American Heritage, Women’s History, Asian Pacific American Heritage, and LGBTQ+ Pride. The Library will launch new Hispanic Heritage and Indigenous Peoples and Native American Heritage pages in September and November 2020, respectively. These webpages gather featured online resources, recommended reads and streaming content, and educational content from partner organizations.
“Pride at PGCMLS” Virtual Events
Two nationally renowned and bestselling authors are featured for “Pride at PGCMLS.” R. Eric Thomas will discuss his hit debut book “Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America” (2020, Penguin Random House) on Tuesday, June 9 at 7 pm. The collection of witty essays provides a glimpse into Thomas’ experience growing up in Baltimore and embracing his identity. Thomas is a senior staff writer at Elle online where he has written the daily pop culture and politics humor column “Eric Reads the News” since 2016. His writing for the theater has been seen on stages around the country; he won the Barrymore Award and the Dramatists Guild Lanford Wilson Award and was a finalist for the Steinberg/American Theater Critics Association New Play Award. Off the page, he is the long-running host of The Moth StorySlams in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.
Writer George M. Johnson discusses his debut young adult memoir “All Boys Aren’t Blue” (Macmillan, 2020) on Wednesday, June 17 at 7pm. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys. Johnson is a writer and activist based in New York. He has written on race, gender, and culture for Essence, The Advocate, Buzz Feed News, Teen Vogue, and more than forty other national publications. He is a columnist for AFROPUNK, and has appeared on BuzzFeed's AM2DM as well as MSNBC. Copies of the Thomas and Johnson books are available via OverDrive as ebooks and audiobooks (pgcmls.overdrive.com).
The Library’s “Pride at PGCMLS” virtual event series includes programs for children and families, teens, and adults. Prior to the COVID-19 closure, the Library planned to hold its first-ever Rainbow Family Festival on Saturday, June 6 at the New Carrollton Branch. Given that the Library is currently focused on virtual services, a special kick-off to “Pride at PGCMLS” is planned for Thursday, June 4 through Saturday, June 6, including special pride editions of several weekly virtual programs (Read-Alouds, STEM at Home, and Crafternoon), a community conversation with Roberta Phillips and members of the Library’s LGBTQ+ working group (Thursday, June 4 at 4 pm), a virtual “Pride at PGCMLS” trivia and happy hour event (Thursday, June 4 at 5:30pm), and an all-ages LGBTQ+ reader’s advisory program (Thursday, June 4 at 7pm). Complete details are available at pgcmls.info/virtual-events.
Programs for Children and Families:
Programs for Teens and/or Adults:
Virtual Community Pride Quilt
Prince Georgians have the opportunity to contribute to a virtual community pride quilt that the Library is creating on its website and for social media. Any member of the public can submit a photo or video clip that describes or documents what pride means to them. Submissions will be accepted through June 19, 2020 at 5 pm via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Submissions will be compiled into a virtual quilt that will be posted on pgcmls.info and on the Library’ social media in late June.
“Pride at PGCMLS” and It Gets Better Project
Select PGCMLS staff are creating short videos where they discuss their own journeys as members of the LGBTQ+ community. These videos will be shared on the Library’s social media and submitted to the It Gets Better Project, a global initiative that “inspires people across the globe to share their stories and remind the next generation of LGBTQ+ youth that hope is out there, and it will get better.” Sample videos are available from Rebecca Oxley of the Greenbelt Branch Library and Chris Herrmann of the Bowie Branch Library.
“Pride at PGCMLS” - June 2020
The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride Month this June with 15+ free virtual programs for all ages, a crowdsourced virtual community pride quilt, and a new LGBTQ+ pride webpage.
About Prince George’s County Memorial Library System
The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) helps customers discover and define opportunities that shape their lives. The Library serves the 915,000+ residents of Prince George’s County, Maryland through 19 branch libraries, a 24/7 online library, and pop-up services throughout the community. PGCMLS is a responsive and trusted community-driven organization. Programs, services, and outreach activities serve booklovers, immigrants and refugees, job seekers, children, young professionals, seniors, and families alike. The Books from Birth and Ready 2 Read programs make the Library the primary source of early literacy education and Kindergarten readiness programs in the County.
PGCMLS’ robust online offerings include curated content collections for kids, teens, educators, Spanish speakers, and more. Special programs include the D.R.E.A.M. Lab, STEM Pals, and 3D printing, which offer teens and lifelong learners with opportunities to learn cutting-edge technology and STEM skills for job readiness or personal enrichment. The Library’s Laurel Branch Library received the 2018 AIA/ALA Library Building Award and was designated the best new public building in Maryland.